Many victims of narcissists who tell me their story wonder if anything their narcissist is actually true. Let me share with you the real truth about narcissistic liars.
A narcissistic liar is anyone who tells untruths because of personality traits narcissistic personality disorder. Most narcissists lie as a consequence of their narcissism. Many lie so much they could be considered habitual liars.
Wondering how you tell their lies from the truth. Here are the most common ways that narcissists lie.
Narcissist Use Lies to Build Their Own Alternate Reality
The biggest reason narcissists liars spin falsehoods is to reshape the world in to their own image. Narcissists have a fundamental insecurity, which they are constantly trying to assuage. When a narcissist —
- Calls their loved ones crazy
- Pretends not to notice what’s going on
- Makes other people out to be the bad guy
Narcissists are incredibly adept at making people think that you are the crazy one, or are out of touch. So much so that us as victims question our own sanity. This is a manipulation technique, often called “gaslighting.” See: “The Gaslighting Narcissistic Boss Employee’s Survival Guide”
They are doing this to force their conception of reality on to everyone else.
In my article “Catchphrases Used by Narcissists | Real Life Examples from Victims”, a cataloged 100’s of lies, partial lies, or misleading go to phrases that narcissists from around the world use on a daily bases. It is amazing just how much variety they have. And, also just how much narcissists resort to the same tactics
Narcissists Lie to Protect Their Ego
When a narcissist is confronted failure, they very commonly lie to protect themselves. One of the fundamental psychological deficiencies that narcissists have is that they cannot accept criticism of evidence that they “aren’t good enough” in a healthy or productive way.
In fact, a narcissist will do anything they can they can to shirk responsibility, and avoid falling in to a shame spiral.
Common lies that you see from a narcissist who is avoiding blame or projecting the blame on to others —
- “It wasn’t my fault. I had nothing to do with it.” (Avoiding responsibility)
- “If you hadn’t … it would have been just fine.” (Making you an accomplice)
- “It was …’s fault.” (Shifting blame)
- “That never happened.” (Not admitting anything is wrong)
- “It was better than what most people would do.” (Calling a failure a win)
Rumors and False Allegations are Tools of Narcissists
Narcissists will lie about other people to put them down, or to make the narcissist look good in comparison.
One example I described of this behavior in, “Living with a Jealous Narcissistic Sister” was a narcissist who would accuse her sister of stealing —
“She used to buy ugly lingerie, and would accuse me of stealing it from her. When I would ask her why she thought that I took it, she would reply ‘Because you think you look better than me!’”
This behavior accrued because the narcissist was pathologically competitive with her sister, and felt threatened by her. So, she used false allegations of stealing to put her down while simultaneously attempting to dominate her.
In the workplace, rumors and gossip are a common for narcissist to get their way. And, when you fire a narcissistic employee, you must be very careful of harassment allegations.
False Backstories are Typical with Narcissists
When you first get to know a narcissist, and particularly when you are starting ind intimate relationship, they are likely to spin their backstory so that they seem like the perfect catch.
Signs that a narcissist is tell you lies about their past include–
- Nothing they did was ever wrong
- Their life seems too perfect on improbable
- They don’t have friends or family that can back up their story
- They were constantly moving, changing jobs, or otherwise justifying why they can’t back up what they say
- They show you Photoshop’d photos or misleadingly edited videos
Narcissist have a number of other tells at the start of a relationship, which I discussed more deeply here:
See: “Narcissism in Relationships | What it Means to Love a Narcissist”
Why Many Narcissists are Habitual Liars
When a person lies so often that they begin to do so without thinking, they are a habitual liar. Habitual liars may lie about big things or little things, but often do so without any particular motivation.
While most narcissists start lying due to narcissistic motivations, frequently this leads them to lie so much, they begin lying for sport. Because narcissists are constantly on the defensive, spinning stories to cover their emotional weaknesses, many of them end up lying many times everyday.
With a daily lying habit in place, narcissists are more prone to start lying out of habit, such as —
- Making up or embellishing small details about their past
- Spouting inconsequential falsehoods at work about other employees
- Saying they like things they don’t really
What makes this type of lying different than narcissistic lying is that there is no particular benefit to it. If these lies make the narcissist look good or protected them in any way, then it they would be narcissistic lies. Aimless lies that come out be cause a narcissist frequently lies in those situations would be habitual lying.
More about habitual liars and how they come about: What is a Habitual Liar | Are Habitual Liars Compulsive Liars?
What’s a narcissistic liar?
Anyone who knowingly speaks falsehoods motivated by emotional deficiencies rooting in narcissistic personality disorder is a narcissistic liar. In particular they lie to — protect their ego, manipulate other people, and to boost their own reputation while diminishing the reputation of their competitors.